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If you’re looking for a low-calorie snack that is packed full of nutrients, crispy air fryer cauliflower is the dish for you! Ready in just fifteen minutes, this simple air fryer cauliflower recipe is great as a snack, appetizer or tasty side dish. Vegan, gluten-free and keto friendly.
To make crispy air fryer cauliflower, you will need:
- A head of cauliflower, cut into florets. See the instructions below for details on how to prepare cauliflower florets. Alternatively, you can use frozen cauliflower florets to cut preparation time.
- Oil - I like avocado or olive oil because they are a source of healthy fats.
- Smoked paprika - used in many Spanish dishes, smoked paprika has a chargrilled flavor that comes from being dried over an open fire. The smoky flavor combines with the characteristic earthy, slightly sweet taste of the red peppers used to make it.
- Cumin seeds - brings a rich, slightly citrus edge to your dish.
- Garlic powder - powdered garlic is perfect for this recipe as it coats cauliflower more effectively than fresh garlic.
- Freshly ground black pepper.
How to Cut Cauliflower
It can be tricky to know what to do with heads of cauliflower! Luckily they’re quick and easy to prepare - I’ll take you through the steps I follow here.
- Begin by removing the leaves from the head of the cauliflower. Don’t throw them away! Cauliflower leaves are delicious roasted with salt and olive oil or stir-fried with ginger and honey.
- Next, using a sharp knife, cut the cauliflower in half through the stem, and then lay the halves on the chopping board and cut them in half again so that you have four quarters.
- Now, remove the core. Hold the cauliflower quarter and carefully angle the knife to cut the core away from the rest of the cauliflower. Like the leaves, the cauliflower core is entirely edible; I’ve just removed it as it’s easier to make florets this way.
- Finally, pull the individual florets apart using your hands.
How to Air Fry Cauliflower
- Once you have your florets, you’re ready to make crispy air fryer cauliflower!
- Begin by adding the florets to a large mixing bowl and the spices and oil. Toss the florets in the oil and spice mixture to coat them.
- Place them in the air fryer basket in a single layer and air fry at 400°F for 15 minutes, giving the basket a shake a few times throughout the cooking time.
- Serve on its own, as a side dish or with a tasty dipping sauce!
How to Serve
This crispy air fried cauliflower is delicious on its own as a snack, but you can make it even better by serving it with your favorite dipping sauce. Some of my favorites are:
- This BBQ sauce (it’s vegan and gluten-free!)
- A delicious romesco sauce perfectly complements the slightly nutty flavor of cauliflower.
- Try fried cauliflower with habanero hot sauce if you like your snacks with a kick!
- Creamy turmeric tahini sauce pairs nicely with the cauliflower, and it’s vegan and gluten-free, too! This sauce is one of my favorites as it goes so well with multiple cuisines. Slightly spicy and packed full of flavor, you’re guaranteed to love it.
- And, of course ranch dressing is a classic accompaniment!
You can also serve up your cauliflower as a spectacular side dish to complement your main meal. A favourite in my house is a portion with this spicy roasted red pepper and chipotle pumpkin seed pasta bowl or a delicious spicy roasted pumpkin quinoa bowl.
How to Store and Reheat
If you want to store your leftovers, seal them in an airtight container in the fridge along with a square of kitchen paper to catch any excess moisture. They will keep for a couple of days.
I wouldn’t recommend freezing your air fryer cauliflower as it will lose some of its texture in the freezer and go a bit mushy.
The best way to reheat them is in the air fryer; this way, they will retain their crispy texture. Heating any other way won’t work as well.
To reheat in the air fryer, heat it to 400°F and heat for 3-4 minutes.
Yes, you can! I would recommend using fresh cauliflower for the best results, but frozen cauliflower florets will work well.
If you’re using frozen cauliflower florets, there’s no need to defrost them before cooking - just pop them in the air fryer from frozen.
Using oil will ensure that your cauliflower florets go nice and crispy; however, you don’t have to use oil.
If you prefer not to use oil, rinse your cauliflower florets in water before tossing in the spices and drain but don’t completely dry. The small amount of water on the cauliflower will ensure that the spices stick to the surface of the cauliflower - you can then follow the rest of the recipe as written.
More Cauliflower Recipes
Air Fryer Cauliflower Recipe
- 1 medium head cauliflower cut into 1-2 inch florets
- 1 tablespoon oil I like to use avocado or olive
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds or 1/4 teaspoon ground
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the cauliflower florets, oil, salt, paprika, garlic, cumin and pepper. Toss all to coat.
- Place in a single layer in an air fryer basket and air fry at 400°F for 15 minutes, giving the basket a toss halfway through.
- Enjoy as is or with a favorite condiment!